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Steidl publishes 'Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography'
Unidentified photographer, ca. 1970. Courtesy The Walther Collection.



NEW YORK, NY.- Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography surveys the expansive field of vernacular photography, the vast archive of utilitarian images created for bureaucratic structures, commercial usage and personal commemoration, as opposed to elite aesthetic purposes. As a crucial extension of its ongoing investigation of vernacular photography, The Walther Collection has collaborated with key scholars and critical thinkers in the history of photography, women’s studies, queer theory, Africana studies and curatorial practice to interrogate vernacular’s theoretical limits, as well as to conduct case studies of a striking array of objects and images, many from the collection’s holdings.

From identification portraits of California migrant workers, physique photographs that circulated underground in queer communities, to one-of-a-kind commemorative military albums from Louisiana to Vietnam, these richly illustrated essays treat a breadth of material formats, social uses and shared communities, offering new ways to consider photography in relation to our political affiliations, personal agency and daily rituals. By reconsidering the multiple contexts and meanings of often-overlooked photographic practices, Imagining Everyday Life is a groundbreaking contribution—articulating the vital debates and complexities within an energizing new field.

Texts by Ariella Azoulay, Geoffrey Batchen, Ali Behdad, Elspeth Brown, Clément Chéroux, Lily Cho, Nicole Fleetwood, Sophie Hackett, Patricia Hayes, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Thy Phu, Leigh Raiford, Shawn Michelle Smith, Drew Thompson, Laura Wexler, and Deborah Willis.

Co-published with The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm and New York.

The Walther Collection, based in Neu-Ulm, Germany, and New York City, is an art foundation dedicated to the critical understanding of historical and contemporary photography and related media. Through a program of original research, collecting, exhibitions and publications, the Collection aims to highlight the social uses of photography and to expand the history of the medium, drawing on its holdings of vernacular and fine-art photography across Africa, China, Japan, Europe and the Americas.

This publication is the culmination of a multi-year investigation of vernacular photography, comprising original case studies, thematic and monographic exhibitions, public lectures and screenings, and a two-day international scholarly symposium.










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